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It’s the widgets that are perhaps the best part of the user interface and there are plenty provided as standard, including ones for the weather forecast, Google services (search, maps and mail), Twitter and Facebook.
Interesting the phone also comes with a BBC iPlayer widget. This lets you either stream videos via Wi-Fi and 3G or download them to the phone so you can watch them later, say if you’re on a the tube or a plane. Unfortunately, try as we might we couldn’t get the streaming to work. The application seemed to find the BBC servers, but video always failed to start playing. However, we did manage to get it to download some programmes and these played back without any problems. The video quality is a bit rough, as the resolution is only 320 x 176 pixels, but it’s still quite watchable on the Slide’s smallish screen and a handy feature to have, especially on a budget device.
As well as iPlayer downloads, the phone can also keep you entertained via its music player. This has a basic interface, but is still relatively easy to use as tracks are split into artist, album and genre categories. However, the phone’s audio output isn’t all that clean and like the Genio Qwerty you can hear some background hiss on quieter acoustic tracks. Nevertheless, this isn’t really noticeable on noisy rock or dance tracks. And if you get bored of your own tunes the handset has an FM tuner so you can turn to Radio 1 or XFM for a bit of sonic variation.
As with the other Genio models the camera on the Slide is very basic. The resolution is limited to just 3-megapixels and although outdoor shots look reasonably vibrant, it struggles to deliver decent results indoors in low light especially as it doesn’t have a flash to lend a helping hand.
A lot of recent budget handsets have cut costs by dumping Wi-Fi support, which can be a bit of an issue if you live in an area with poor 3G reception. However, Samsung has decided against such a strategy on the Slide, with the result that both Wi-Fi and HSDPA are supported. Naturally there’s also Bluetooth and perhaps surprisingly given the low price it has GPS too. There’s no navigation software included, but the GPS did work well the Java version of Goggle Maps installed on the phone.
Despite the relatively wide range of features on offer, the Slide doesn’t suffer too badly when it comes to battery life. We found we could get around two days out of it before it needed a recharge, but if you make really heavy use of 3G downloads or the GPS chip you can expect this to fall to about a day.
The Slide is the best handset so far in the Genio range thanks to its excellent keyboard, great connectivity and easy to use operating system. Its cramped screen is a bit of an issue, but if you can’t quite stretch to the asking price of some of the more advanced smartphones and want something a bit more feature-rich than the average pay as you go handset, we think it’s still a good bet.